Best Practice

Vocational & academic: Working hand-in-hand

Changes to accountability have seemingly led many schools to reduce their vocational offer. Catherine Mastaglio argues that vocational education can work hand-in-hand with academia.

Last month, thousands of UK teens received their GCSE results. Pupils, parents and teachers interrupted their summer holidays and congregated at schools across the country to open that all-important envelope with shaking hands.

And what were the scores on the doors? Overall, the 2014 results show a 98.5 per cent pass rate, down

0.3 percentage points (but with a rise in students receiving A*s). Significantly, the number of English entries dropped by more than 215,000, while the number of maths entries dropped by 76 per cent, from 170,357 down to 39,292.

It is unsurprising to see some of these changes following an unprecedented overhaul of the system. It has been a year of great transition in secondary school education with a new focus on end-point examination, (removing the earlier “January series” re-sit and modular examinations). What’s more, from September 2013, most vocational qualifications ceased to hold GCSE equivalency, so therefore no longer counted within school performance tables.

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